While the Music Lasts

277 pages Signature Editions ISBN: 978-1-927426-70-8 ISBN 978-1-927426-71-5 (epub)

Luc Malarmé was one of France’s most popular rock stars when he was convicted for the accidental murder of his girlfriend, beloved film star Miri Monette. After nine years in prison, Luc has been released and come to live at his retreat near Saint-Brin — Aliette Nouvelle’s home and base of operations. All Luc wants to do is grow vines, make wine, and play his music. No deal: The people of Saint-Brin have not forgotten Luc’s crime against Miri. And in this small Midi town, moral outrage trumps forgiveness. When Luc reports the poisoning of his dog and claims they want to kill him, Aliette soon realizes it’s not paranoia. But it goes deeper than the Miri tragedy. As Aliette and her team investigate, a disturbing past emerges. Many townsfolk have been hurt by this man’s lifestyle and they fear his music… The attacks escalate. But Luc Malarmé refuses to stay silent. Aliette senses Luc’s innate power. She is intrigued by his insistent, fatalistic refrain: “I am the music.” How can the police protect this difficult man?

‘Yes?’ Turning from her window, responding to a timid knock, Aliette was nonplussed to find the disgraced musician standing at her office door. Unescorted, looking lost and shambling. ‘Is this the police?’ ‘Police Judiciaire,’ she stammered. No matter how you might imagine such a moment, you cannot plan how you’ll react when you actually come face to face with a star. Despite the tarnish of shame, Luc Malarmé remained a megastar and Aliette was bedazzled. She felt something automatic move inside her. Her eyes adjusted, her psyche tried to. He informed her, ‘It’s started. You have to help me. They’re going to kill me…They’ve killed my dog.’ She believed him. There was a silence as she puzzled his claim. A silence like a spell. Till Luc said, ‘Miri’s gone. There’s only me.’ Only him? How could he separate Miri Monette out of the equation? The harsh thing she had discerned in the eyes of certain people around town came flooding back. The condemning voices echoed, a chorus chanting, Outrageous! Shameful! He didn’t hear them. He told her, ‘They still need my songs but they don’t want me to sing them.’ He offered a large shrug for a notion that did not make sense. ‘There’s no one else to sing them. How could there be? It’s only me and always will be.’ Aliette was not sure how to respond. She wrote his name at the top of an empty page. Luc M.

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Tropéano’s Gun

301 pages Signature Editions ISBN: 978-1-927426-54-8

Inspector Aliette Nouvelle is ordered to attend therapy sessions with a psychologist in Beziers, the city 40km from her home base in the wine town of Saint-Brin. Aliette’s failure to carry her gun is directly related to the messy conclusion of a major murder case she led the previous summer. She must learn to use deadly force… There is a killing spree occurring in the city. Someone is knifing homeless kids. Aliette cannot get involved: not her patch, not her problem. When city-based colleague Inspector Pierre Tropéano becomes a victim, his gun is taken and used in yet more killings. The knife left in Tropéano’s gut changes everything… As she wanders the night streets of the cold city, getting a feel for the gun in her pocket, Aliette finds clues to the whereabouts of Tropéano’s gun —and a killer. But pursuing the matter risks losing her job. And maybe her life. Is she ready to use her gun?

Aliette Nouvelle confronted the psychologist who suddenly had such control over her life. ‘There are so many people out there. Really, what good is a gun?’ ‘But that’s exactly it, Inspector. So many people, so many of them angry, medicated, lost and volatile, erupting through the fragile veneer of civility — no warning, human explosions, just like that. The public lives in a state of fear, they depend on the likes of you to be prepared and able to respond in kind.’ ‘It’s chaotic out there. From what I’ve seen, guns only make the chaos worse.’ ‘Or these people are simply evil. Monsters in disguise, living amongst us. And breeding.’ ‘Do you believe in evil?’ The question compelled Gabrielle Gravel to answer the other she had dodged. ‘I don’t care what my clients need or don’t need. I don’t judge. I try to help them move forward with their lives.’ ‘Well, that’s the problem. My gun does not make me feel that I’m moving forward.’ ‘Which is why you are here. And why we cannot fail.’ Aliette acquiesced. She had no wish to alienate Gabrielle Gravel with more unsolicited questions, much less cop cynicism. Her job was on the line and she had to come to terms.

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Walls of a Mind

301 pages Signature Editions ISBN: 978-1-927426-29-6

Inspector Aliette Nouvelle has been transferred to the south. Now officially Chief Inspector Nouvelle, she is given command of a small brigade at Saint-Brin, a sleepy town in a valley where wine is the primary industry and source of identity. When Joël Guatto, scion of an old wine-producing family, is shot dead on the beach, it appears to be a politically motivated murder. But is it? As a recently defeated political candidate, Guatto had been no threat, despite his efforts to rally wine-producers incensed by cheap Spanish wine imports which are jeopardizing their livelihood. The scope of Aliette’s investigation widens when it turns out that his campaign manager - and lover - Stephanie McLeod has ties to a Euro-wide anarchist network.  Stephanie runs… Aliette needs Stephanie for her murder case. But French secret service agent Margot Tessier is determined to use the young woman as a disposable pawn in her quest for a much bigger target. Aliette must get to Stephanie first...

‘Love makes people stupid,’ Margot noted. ‘We both know this.’ Margot Tessier was trying hard to be a colleague and not a bitch. More than that: Trying hard to make it just us girls. Aliette Nouvelle resisted. Margot seemed perplexed by her reluctance. To fill the silence, she said, ‘So many of my clients are so basic. Paris sends me all this research. So many studies being done. We deal with the idealists, the politically angry. That derives from high-end notions. Patriotism, love of humankind, fanatical faith, what have you… I suppose it’s fascinating for the ones who draw up these abstract models. I suppose it helps me do I what I need to do. But I mean basic in the sense of predictable responses to your garden-variety spiritual crises brought on by disillusion. I’d never tell my bosses, but I find far more workable profiles in my how-to self-help bestsellers than in any of the academic stuff. It’s a bit sad when you think about it.’ ‘How to make a bomb?’ Aliette got that research too. ‘You’re seeing her wrong.’ Margot Tessier helped herself to more wine.

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The Unknown Masterpiece

284 pages Signature Editions ISBN: 978-1-897109-98-4

Art fraud. Murder… Aliette Nouvelle’s love life is in tatters – it’s a heavy distraction as she goes back and forth across the border trying to determine who killed a Basel art gallery security guard found at a gay gathering spot on the French bank of the Rhine. A damaged painting found near the body motivates her. A shoemaker. The inspector identifies with the image of a dedicated artisan working in solitude. With love dissolving, work is all that’s left. But the case gets messy. The inspector makes mistakes…

Swiss FedPol Agent Rudi Bucholtz breathed, ‘Stay the fuck away from me,’ and cut the line. She probably deserved it. Maybe needed it too… But she needed Rudi. Or would. Heading through the checkpoint back into France, Aliette tried to visualize the fifty or so works of art she had flipped through with such hurried disbelief four nights ago in the squalid pied à terre on Mulheimerstrasse. Perhaps she had looked at some Early Modern naïf representations, some ultra-metaphysical Romantic images as well. But she couldn’t really remember, and even if she could, she didn’t really know. In any event, she doubted a stolid Flemish shoemaker taking a break for tea fit either category. Perhaps that was why he’d been so rudely treated. And Martin Bettelman killed.

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Stifling Folds of Love

317 pages Signature Editions ISBN:  1-897109-57-1, ISBN-13:  978-1897109-57-1

Pearl Serein is the most desired woman in town. Pearl’s lovers are the city’s leading men. She breaks up marriages, and after she dumps her lovers, big careers go down the tubes. Celebrity gossip scribe Tommi Bonneau chronicles Pearl’s every romantic move in the morning paper. When Pearl’s ex-lovers start dying of apparent heart attacks there is no criminal evidence - but the common fact of Pearl makes it impossible for Commissaire Claude Néon to resist investigating. Soon seven men are dead and Claude is in hot water, maybe danger…Inspector Aliette Nouvelle is no fan of celebrity gossip. She thinks Claude has acted like an unprofessional ass. Should she be loyal? Or let him suffer? The mystery surrounding Pearl Serein is a challenge for the Inspector’s heart and mind.

Aliette Nouvelle went down to the morgue. ‘I need to prove murder.’Doctor Conan smiled, commiserating. Heart attacks? Yes. But how? He had to tell her, ‘This remains obscured.’ Why? Because the crucial electrical factor could not be known. ‘An EKG might show it, but a body has to be alive.’ Conan shrugged. ‘In this modern era, you could say death is the absence of electricity.’ ‘Electricity?’ The inspector gazed at the lifeless organs on display atop the counter.

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All Pure Souls

240 pages Signature Editions ISBN: 0-92183380-6

An August heat wave. High-priced sex. Goddess worship. A prostitute - a Marilyn Monroe “lookalike” - is found murdered. And the logical suspect is already in lock-up. As he contemplates the crime scene photo of the victim, Commissaire Claude Néon admits he can’t fathom the attraction. Who would ever pay for that? “I’ll never understand those Americans and the things they like. She always seemed too much like a cow to me. That thick body, those stupid eyes…”

Inspector Aliette Nouvelle senses something deeper. She confronts her boss, “Claude, I need to know why anyone would want to kill a Marilyn Monroe doll. And why anyone would ever want to be one. Don’t you?”



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The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle

235 pages Signature Editions ISBN: 0-92183365-2

Jacques: A cultural hero who has lost his meaning; is losing track of himself. Aliette: A new kind of hero, non-violent, subtle, still trying to understand her role…

A “what if” mystery, built around the myth of celebrated Public Enemy Jacques Mesrine, as told by Inspector Aliette Nouvelle. “I’m from the west but I worked in the east, in a city on the Rhine…There is not much of the macabre in this story, no gory forensics, very little of the rude or violent. The mystery was mostly imaginary, a case of mistaken identities. It happened in the second part of my life, when I was thirty-five. We were into the 90’s and the world was changing. France was trying to, but it had such a reputation to uphold.”





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Voice of Aliette Nouvelle

Last Days of Montreal

300 pages Signature Editions ISBN: 0-921833-91-1

Montreal is a city that lives the ideal of peoples meeting, mixing and producing a culture greater than the sum of its diverse parts. The 1995 Sovereignty Referendum almost ruined it. The heart of the action is a unknown quarter in an old Montreal neighborhood. Some people are feeling the pressure of the politics; others are more worried about love and snow. But all of them affect each other. And none of them can avoid Last Days.

Not exactly an upstanding citizen. More a Don Quixote type, a ragged man of hearty soul rolling through a crumbling world, drinking beer, looking for love, railing at the foolish ones who believe the past is more important than the now. “Once we were the heart of a beautiful vision. Now we’re like a ratty old ball that gets chewed and ripped apart by political dogs.” Last Days fights for Montreal.




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Last Days of Montreal